Robert Gardner – Metaphorical Filmmaker
Robert Gardner’s cinema spans the second half of the twentieth century, and into the twenty first. Beginning with his travels to film the San people of the Kalahari in southern Africa with John Marshall in the 1950s, Gardner sought out emblematic societies with his camera in some of the most remote places on the planet. The themes he confronts: violent conflict, relations between the sexes, ritual pain, envy, and the passing from life, are portrayed as universal philosophical issues. Although the people in Gardner’s films live on the “other” side of the world, they make us ask questions about ourselves. The genius of Gardner’s work is that he has found the cultures around the world that ask the questions that we are too afraid to ask ourselves. Robert Gardner – Metaphorical Filmmaker will tie these threads together with conversations between Gardner and his friends, who are artists, poets, and filmmakers. The documentary will feature extracts from Gardner’s work, which are pivotal moments in the original films. The conversations will elucidate these clips, and tie them together with larger conclusions about Gardner’s own creativity, and what it has to teach us about our common humanity. The global community has changed a lot since Gardner made his films. As we become more connected technologically, but divided ideologically and spiritually, the need for a re-examination of Gardner’s life work becomes more acute.